A Young American's Cultivation Experience
Greetings, I have been practicing Falun Dafa for over a year now. Upon reflection it seems my life before this past year has all been in preparation for receiving this Fa. I was raised in a Catholic family, and I went to Catholic schools for most of my life. Yet when growing I seemed to draw no comfort from this religion. The principles said a person should act one way, yet the way I felt compelled to act by those around me was totally different. The powerful messages I had received from society made anyone who talked about being a good, moral person seem ridiculous. Eventually, I lost all sense of morality, compromising all matters for my own self-interest. I reached a low point in high school, going through times of great excitement and deep depression. I believe that once I was a shining, pure being in harmony with the universe and then I deviated from the Fa and slowly over time this deviation spread and grew. Finally in high school, with my degenerated morals and severe unhappiness my deviation was fully revealed and I realized that I had to turn my life around. I asked my parents for a book on meditation; a year later, I downloaded some materials on generic meditation techniques, which I used once in a while. Two months later I was introduced to Falun Dafa by two practitioners who came to my school for a demonstration. Immediately it occurred to me that this was what I had been searching for.
When reading the book Falun Gong I had trouble with the parts that most blatantly defied modern science, but I tried to keep an open mind and read on. It was as though there was a stubborn voice within me; this voice kept criticizing what I was reading and kept telling me that modern science had the real answers and that this was just superstition. Thankfully there was another voice within me. It was very open minded and curious, it was the same voice I had trusted in the past and which had guided me quite well. I now recognize this open-minded voice as my true self, and the stubborn voice is the thought karma. Over time the stubborn voice became quieter and calmer and now it seems like only a whisper.
From the very beginning I have had trouble with doing the exercises correctly. Either it seems I relax too much and don't strain myself enough or I strain myself too much and I don't relax enough. This often results in me doing the second exercise incorrectly, with my arms only occasionally embracing a circle. I struggle and try to stay focused. In the past I have gotten very frustrated doing this because it seems one moment my mind is here yet the next it is gone. Over time I realized that the practice is not only about staying focused but also about not letting my frustration get out of control. This is made more difficult because I get attracted to the other extreme where I avoid frustration too much and allow myself to become sloppy; I realized that this is also unacceptable. Overall, I have improved quite a bit from when I was a normal human being, yet I know I have much further to go.
Over the course of my cultivation I have increasingly immersed myself in Falun Dafa, reading the books and meditating more and more. The people around me like my parents, brothers, girlfriend, and roommate have taken notice and have at some time or another become upset by it. They criticize Falun Dafa and tell me I am ruining my life. They all seem to ask, "What happened to you?" They say, "You have become so foolish and narrow minded." At first I didn't know what to do so I nervously laughed. Then once my understanding of the Fa deepened a bit I was infuriated by these accusations, how could they be so far from the truth and yet take themselves so seriously? With time I learned to control my anger and to focus on validating the Fa. These people have to some extent been blinded by modern science and by a cultural mentality that actually promotes attachments of self-interest. I realize I must be more patient with them because incessantly arguing will accomplish nothing and will only serve to create another attachment for myself. I must do my best to help them see the truth. I have found that one good way to do this is to simply continue improving my Xinxing. As a practitioner I have cultivated many virtues by improving my Xinxing. For example I have become calmer, more clear-minded, more patient, and more caring. I believe that these virtues will serve as evidence of the mighty power of the Buddha Fa. All those people I come in contact with in this life can be witness to them and can ultimately benefit from them.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone here, I find being around practitioners to be very refreshing, and I would also like to thank Master Li for everything he has done.